“’I realized I didn’t need to live in Manhattan. I wasn’t going out two, three, four nights a week anymore. I was becoming a boring homebody.’ He was willing to consider any borough and any neighborhood, as long as he had subway access to his office near Grand Central Terminal.”
“He aimed for a one-bedroom in a building with a laundry room, for $1,600 to $2,000 a month, and quickly found a promising-sounding place in Riverdale, the Bronx, an area he had never visited. A real estate agent picked him up at the 231st Street station on the No. 1 line. ‘That neighborhood is unbelievable,’ he said. ‘It’s like the Hamptons in the Bronx.'”
“He learned, too, that it was unrealistic to expect laundry in the brownstone walk-ups he was seeing, so he planned to ‘join the millions of other people’ in New York who avail themselves of a coin laundry.”
Anyway, that’s where he wound up.
“The two [the woman being profiled and her late husband] met in 1964, when she was a 23-year-old editorial secretary at Holt, Rinehart & Winston and he was a dashing writer and photographer 15 years her senior. A larger-than-life figure — at 6-foot-4, almost literally — Mr. Buckley used to breeze through the office when he wasn’t traveling the globe shooting pictures published in Life magazine and in his many books.”
So Mad Men! Which, by the way, get cracking Matthew Weiner! I know all about the contract disputes but I don’t care. Anyway, back to the Buckleys:
“When the couple married in 1973, Mr. Buckley was divorced and living in this three-bedroom apartment, which he had bought for $22,000. The location allowed his three children, who lived nearby with their mother, to visit easily on weekends. By 1974, the children were living with him full time.”
“The array of cooking equipment, much of it antique, could have come directly from a well-equipped French country house, with a few touches from farther afield. Copper pots of every description hang on the kitchen walls and dangle from the ceiling. There’s a paella pan, a wooden ladle from Venice, a wooden bread board carved with a leaf, a brass ladle bearing an image of the sun, and a worn butter mold from Annecy in the French Alps, which the couple visited every year.”
“‘We also have the world’s biggest collection of plates,’ Ms. Buckley said almost apologetically. Dishes are referred to by size and place of origin — ‘the French reds, large and small; the Venetian rounds, large and small, the French bowls, the Paris bowls. And the Buckley collection of cookbooks is so large, it occupies multiple shelves in what was formerly the children’s room. Many are vintage volumes from France and bear titles like ‘Je Sais Cuisiner’ and ‘365 Plats du Jour.'”
Holy crap! Do these guys know about this lady?
“When the Buckleys weren’t entertaining, they were often traveling, not only to Europe but also to the Caribbean for snorkeling and scuba diving, hence the helmet shells, tulip shells, starfish and other creatures from the sea. Their extensive art collection includes an image by a Huichol Indian in which a yellow face, bright as the sun, smiles out from a black background. The work, made of yarn on beeswax, was their wedding present to each other.”
REREAD THAT LAST SENTENCE. [Editor’s note: My favorite sentence from that article was “The abundance of Hemingways is no surprise.”]
OK, let’s back away quietly from Mrs. Buckley and her well-thumbed copy of Je Sais Cuisiner and the yarn-beeswax thing-y. I think what we would all like right now is a little simplicity. Just a nice quiet studio maybe.
And, as any real estate broker worth his salt would tell you, it’s never been a better time to buy:
“The average price for studios dropped to $404,326 in 2010, from a high of $500,479 in 2008, according to the Douglas Elliman Report, an analysis of the decade’s sales data. A recent search of Manhattan listings on The New York Times real estate site and on Streeteasy.com found close to 200 studios available for $300,000 or less. An article about studios in The Times in 2009, before the market had bottomed out, found only a handful of studios in that price range.”
Mr. Babic, why are you renting in God-forsaken Brooklyn when you could just take your sofa cushion change and BUY a MANHATTAN studio?
You know, actually, since they’re practically giving apartments away, let’s go back to Mrs. Buckley/Renee/Leeloola’s neighborhood and look at something a little… larger.
Like Renee and Mrs. Buckley, I think three bedrooms would be a nice size for an apartment, and I’m in luck, because many Upper East Side/Yorkville developers agree with me:
“Stuart Moss, a senior vice president and associate broker at the Corcoran Group, said the new developments in Yorkville, which include three on East 85th Street — the Lucida, at No. 151; the Brompton, at No. 205; and the Georgica, at No. 305 —’have taken over a lot of those smaller, less-expensive former-tenement-type places that might have appealed to younger professionals.'”
Don’t you just get the shivers imagining yourself in a low-rise, less expensive, decades-old, scaled to the neighborhood building? Blecch. I want steel and glass and high floors and lots of door people and something built in this goddamned century! And I am willing to pay for it:
“‘We structured our building to allow for a combination of two two-bedroom apartments into a 3,000-square-foot four-bedroom,’ said Douglas MacLaury, the senior vice president for development at the Mattone Group, ‘and that’s been one of our more successful products.’ The building, which has a children’s playroom and a game room for teens, is about a third sold, he said.”
“Prices for new condominiums are $1,400 to $1,600 a square foot, Mr. Moss said.”
My phone has a calculator. Does yours? When the guy at the phone store told me this I thought “why in the world…?” but now I see how essential it is to have one. So let’s see: To secure that 3,000 square foot 2 @ 2-bedrooms combo I will call Mr. Moody at the bank and ask him to make out a cashier’s check for — oh my! — $4.2 to $4.8 million.
I will leave you with this: “The Letterpress Rug from Commune Design.”
I have a dog that has bladder problems and she has a rug very similar to this one. Except I didn’t pay $57 a square foot for hers – I just dig out old New York Times‘s from public trash receptacles. Reduce, reuse, recycle!